It’s true, the Los Angeles Dodgers usually run the show at the trade deadline, but this year’s National League playoff race — especially with an expanded field for the first time, signaling a true chaotic deadline on the calendar — is going to be baseball’s version of the Wild West.
On top of that, the Dodgers’ needs — pitching in all areas, outfielders and depth — are just about what everyone else will be looking for. And those contending this year who have yet to sniff a fraction of LA’s success over the last decade might be a little bit more desperate to pay escalated prices in the name of making things happen now.
In the NL, there are two division races separated by two games or fewer and a Wild Card race with six teams realistically in contention. That latter aspect of the playoff race is what the Dodgers might have to worry about in the weeks leading up until Aug. 2.
The expanded playoff format has now created a sense of “anything can happen,” much like the NFL’s way of doing business. Just get in and let destiny take care of the rest. Get hot at the right time, and you might just be on the fast track to the Fall Classic.
Not to mention, some of these teams possess a “now or never” mentality given the work they’ve conducted in free agency and on the trade market the last few years.
In Andrew Friedman we trust, but a number of other executives will be out for blood in their attempt to acquire more top talent before the window closes.
3. Philadelphia Phillies
Don’t laugh, Dodgers fans! Dave Dombrowski’s work on the 2018 Boston Red Sox sank you in the World Series! Yeah … we didn’t think Steve Pearce was much of an acquisition either, but here we are.
Now, Dombrowski’s running the show in Philly, and the Phillies cannot afford to miss the playoffs again. They’re one game out of a Wild Card spot and eight games back of the Mets in the NL East, but possess a pretty fearful lineup when Bryce Harper is healthy and the rest of their sluggers are close to the top of their game.
Plus, with Harper injured, the Phillies will be in the market for another outfield slugger who they’ll be able to deploy at DH once Harper is ready to return. That’s not their chief need, though — like the Dodgers, they need any and all pitching possible.
Though they have the 26th-ranked farm system, Dombrowski is famous for gutting a franchise’s arsenal of prospects in the name of winning right now. No reason to think that philosophy will change, which will make the Phillies a threat in the chase for most available names at the deadline.